# Is confidence everything?

## Main Question or Discussion Point

Do you feel that confidence, both actualized internally, and projected externally in dealings with people, is perhaps among the most important factor for obtaining a quality of life devoid of excessive disconsolation?

I'm talking about genuine confidence that is within merit. Not "false" confidence, or "overconfidence".

After thinking it through, I can never remember a time in my life where I've been confident about much of anything. I tend to be pessimistic and somewhat introverted, and lately I've come to the conclusion that perhaps this attitude is not serving me well in my dealings with people.

I've been thinking that even if a person has not fulfilled the societal mainstreams of what "success" is supposed to be, they might still be "respected", so long as they project an aura of confidence that is not necessarily unwarranted.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Evo
Mentor
I've been thinking that even if a person has not fulfilled the societal mainstreams of what "success" is supposed to be, they might still be "respected", so long as they project an aura of confidence that is not necessarily unwarranted.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
When responding, please make sure you have read and understand the OP's statement I have bolded. He is not talking about being arrogant or exibiting confidence that is unwarranted.

When responding, please make sure you have read and understand the OP's statement I have bolded. He is not talking about being arrogant or exibiting confidence that is unwarranted.
yes, i understand that. what you are not understanding evo is that his own lack of confidence is probably unwarranted, and i even tried to show him why before you so rudely interrupted.

After thinking it through, I can never remember a time in my life where I've been confident about much of anything. I tend to be pessimistic and somewhat introverted, and lately I've come to the conclusion that perhaps this attitude is not serving me well in my dealings with people.

Galileo
Homework Helper
generally, the more confident people are, the less competent they are. incompetence blinds people.
It sounds like you picture people who act big, show-off and tell people how good they are.
That is not confidence. That is the mask they wear on the outside to hide their incompetence. It's actually insecurity.

Genuine confidence comes from within and when you have it, you have no need to find validation from other people for your worth.

But Im actually confusing two kinds of confidence here.
A 'confidence' in a certain skill, profession or some area of your life and self-confidence.
The first kind is dependent on the skill. For example: I'm confident about my driving skills, but Im not confident about my drawing skills. This is where incompetence plays a role.

Self-confidence is the real important one. It's linked with your sense of self-worth. The way you see yourself an the world around you. Competence is not an issue here. You can be a total klutz in almost anything and still have genuine self-confidence. It's internal and not dependent on anything external, like how much money, success, friends etc. you have.

To Holocene's original question:
Here are my thoughts on where the feeling of 'excessive disconsolation' you mention comes from and the role of self-confidence in this.
Intensity and passion come from doing the things in your life that really matter to you. Let your voice be heard and showing the world who you are and what you stand for. Being authentic all the way.
This takes courage. A lot of courage, because many of us are afraid to show outside who we are on the inside. It means being vulnerable. But if you do, all emotions experienced are heightened, because, in success, you did it by being YOU and not by posing, kissing-butts or whatever. It's the fear of failure that holds us back, because these too are heightened.
That's why you need self-confidence and self-worth. Confidence to take risks, think big and aim high. And self-worth to know that failing doesn't make you less of a person, that no-ones perfect and that you shouldn't take everything personally.

Without these, you will lack the courage to take risks. Fear will rule your life. You won't have much personal failures, but no successes either and your emotional life will turn a dull shade of gray. Self-confidence is key.

It sounds like you picture people who act big, show-off and tell people how good they are.
That is not confidence. That is the mask they wear on the outside to hide their incompetence. It's actually insecurity.

Genuine confidence comes from within and when you have it, you have no need to find validation from other people for your worth.

But Im actually confusing two kinds of confidence here.
A 'confidence' in a certain skill, profession or some area of your life and self-confidence.
The first kind is dependent on the skill. For example: I'm confident about my driving skills, but Im not confident about my drawing skills. This is where incompetence plays a role.
yeah, no, what i'm taking about is this:

Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments.
Kruger J, Dunning D.

Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-7601, USA. jkruger@s.psych.uiuc.edu

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.

PMID: 10626367 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Self-confidence is the real important one. It's linked with your sense of self-worth. The way you see yourself an the world around you. Competence is not an issue here. You can be a total klutz in almost anything and still have genuine self-confidence. It's internal and not dependent on anything external, like how much money, success, friends etc. you have.
yes, that is a different thing and maybe has more to do with ones own social 'skills'. i disagree that it has nothing to do with competence though, if you consider social interaction a competence.

Probably...most of the time I'm not particularly confident, but on the days or weeks that I am I certainly feel better, and everything goes easier...

Evo
Mentor
Holocene, you are right about being confident. It really has nothing to do with accomplishments, you just need to appear confident. You will find that if you start projecting confidence that your confidence will actually increase.

Even if you just start off with being confident that you are a nice person, people will pick up on that.

WarPhalange
Being confident is the difference between making a difficult jump and falling flat on your face. It's the Zen of it, really. Let go and let your body do the work that you know you know because you've trained so much.

Of course, this doesn't apply to all things, but when talking to someone about say physics you can look confident if you know what the hell you are talking about that, and the only way you'll know that is by studying hard.

Dealing with people is the same way. You have to practice and you'll get better. That's all it really boils down to. If you have some sort of anxiety issues, go talk to a doctor. They have meds for that now. But in general if you're healthy and "normal", then just interacting with people more should make you more confident around people.

Evo
Mentor
Of course, this doesn't apply to all things, but when talking to someone about say physics you can look confident if you know what the hell you are talking about that, and the only way you'll know that is by studying hard.
You can exude confidence when speaking with someone more knowledgeable by admiting that you don't know much about the subject, but are interested and would like to understand more. Whether they want to talk to someone that wants to learn or not is not your problem. If they are not inclined to speak to someone that's interested in what they do, then move along. I find most people like to explain what they do to an interested listener. Rememebr, you learn more by listening than by speaking.

Holocene, you are right about being confident. It really has nothing to do with accomplishments, you just need to appear confident. You will find that if you start projecting confidence that your confidence will actually increase.

Even if you just start off with being confident that you are a nice person, people will pick up on that.

Thanks Evo.

I'm glad you can sympathize with my belief that even just acting confident could be half the battle.

I think that what everyone has said about confidence is pretty much true, and I think that warranted confidence, a sort of gravitas, is a virtue, but looking back at the original post:
Do you feel that confidence, both actualized internally, and projected externally in dealings with people, is perhaps among the most important factor for obtaining a quality of life devoid of excessive disconsolation?
What I have highlighted there sounds like "happiness" to me. I think that confidence is an illusory path to happiness because there can be no confidence that is unshakeable: no matter how good you are at something, you can one day find yourself facing someone who is better; and no matter how well you prepare there can be unforseen circumstances that defeat you through no fault of your own; confidence in material things, like land and property and other wealth, may lose value or be lost through misfortune as in this financial crisis of late; confidence in one's body, things like health and vigor and beauty, pass with time.

So I think that the best bet for obtaining happiness is something like what Buddha taught: a tranquility and joy that transcends all material circumstances and things. Indeed I think that this is the ultimate benefit of any religion that is sought and found, but Buddha really had a focus on it and seems to have had the science of it down.

In Buddhism, the tranquility and joy of one who is an arhat - who has achieved enlightenment or "laid down the burden" - emanates from him or her and is felt by the people all around. So it's quite attractive, if that's something you've got an interest in. (And actually, some Buddhists are kinda mad crazy into sex; if you've heard of Tantric Buddhism, some forms of that seek enlightenment by essentially developing the ability to experience a continuous orgasm, constantly, all the time.)

But by the way, I'm not a Buddhist myself, I'm an atheist. And to reiterate, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with confidence, as I said I think it's a virtue, I just think that there are more certain paths to happiness than that.

Oh, and if you haven't read it yet Siddhartha by Herman Hesse is a nice (fictional) exposition of Buddhism, an early 20th century novel that's a quick read and tells a dramatized version of the life of Buddha.

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WarPhalange
You can exude confidence when speaking with someone more knowledgeable by admiting that you don't know much about the subject, but are interested and would like to understand more. Whether they want to talk to someone that wants to learn or not is not your problem. If they are not inclined to speak to someone that's interested in what they do, then move along. I find most people like to explain what they do to an interested listener. Rememebr, you learn more by listening than by speaking.
Of course.

In my example I was assuming you were explaining something to someone less knowledgeable. Like giving a presentation. If you actually know what you are presenting and know it in and out you are likely to feel a bit more comfortable and confident than if you decided to study everything the night before and besides that have no idea what you are talking about.

Thanks Evo.

I'm glad you can sympathize with my belief that even just acting confident could be half the battle.
fake it til you make it?

or maybe just stop caring so much about how people react to you. i've come to believe that the way others treat you often has very little to do with any sort of earned respect. it has a lot to do with superficial things. how tall you are. how you dress. your face. etc. some things you can control, some you can't. you can try to be more positive, less negative.

fake it til you make it?

or maybe just stop caring so much about how people react to you. i've come to believe that the way others treat you often has very little to do with any sort of earned respect. it has a lot to do with superficial things. how tall you are. how you dress. your face. etc. some things you can control, some you can't. you can try to be more positive, less negative.
well said sir.

JasonRox
Homework Helper
Gold Member
yeah, no, what i'm taking about is this:

yes, that is a different thing and maybe has more to do with ones own social 'skills'. i disagree that it has nothing to do with competence though, if you consider social interaction a competence.
I call this "false" confidence. I remember talking about this with psych. students, and methods to actually "strip" away from the "confidence" from them, which displays that it is "false" or "fake". I believe "fake" confidence comes from our materialistic world. Basically, if you're a good looking guy, you should have confidence, you deserve confidence... hence treating it like an object. So that they project to people like they have confidence but really don't. (Kind of like how some good looking girls project high self esteem, but as we all know, sometimes it is fake.)

I won't speak of ways to "strip" away confidence since it is "dangerous" and manipulative (could hurt someone). I do sometimes do it because it has to be done occasionally... arrogance and such. (Arrogance is not confidence... like Evo pointed out.)

JasonRox
Homework Helper
Gold Member
What I have highlighted there sounds like "happiness" to me. I think that confidence is an illusory path to happiness because there can be no confidence that is unshakeable: no matter how good you are at something, you can one day find yourself facing someone who is better; and no matter how well you prepare there can be unforseen circumstances that defeat you through no fault of your own; confidence in material things, like land and property and other wealth, may lose value or be lost through misfortune as in this financial crisis of late; confidence in one's body, things like health and vigor and beauty, pass with time.
Your definition of confidence is different from mine. All confidence should be shakeable and I think that realization is one of the biggest keys to gaining confidence.

I wish I can give examples. It's hard to explain in a post. I'll give the jist of it. Confident with girls... shakeable ground would be meeting a girl from a different culture, i.e. difference expressions and expectations, etc...

Your definition of confidence is different from mine. All confidence should be shakeable and I think that realization is one of the biggest keys to gaining confidence.
If I said that no confidence is unshakeable... and you said that all confidence should be shakeable... how are our definitions different?

JasonRox
Homework Helper
Gold Member
If I said that no confidence is unshakeable... and you said that all confidence should be shakeable... how are our definitions different?
Double negatives... duh. :uhh:

Haha, I noticed that.

No problemo.

But also, you may have misread me. Holocene asked "is confidence the best way to have X" and I didn't talk about confidence, I said that X sounds like happiness and no, confidence is not the best way to acheive happiness.

JasonRox
Homework Helper
Gold Member
No problemo.

But also, you may have misread me. Holocene asked "is confidence the best way to have X" and I didn't talk about confidence, I said that X sounds like happiness and no, confidence is not the best way to acheive happiness.
I definitely agree. There is so much more to happiness, and fulfillment.

I'm looking to acquire a life full of experiences, wisdom, achievements and failures, and so on, as opposed to one set as "happiness".

I call this "false" confidence. I remember talking about this with psych. students, and methods to actually "strip" away from the "confidence" from them, which displays that it is "false" or "fake". I believe "fake" confidence comes from our materialistic world. Basically, if you're a good looking guy, you should have confidence, you deserve confidence... hence treating it like an object. So that they project to people like they have confidence but really don't. (Kind of like how some good looking girls project high self esteem, but as we all know, sometimes it is fake.)

I won't speak of ways to "strip" away confidence since it is "dangerous" and manipulative (could hurt someone). I do sometimes do it because it has to be done occasionally... arrogance and such. (Arrogance is not confidence... like Evo pointed out.)
not that it's the sort of thing i read, but that seems to be a part of a lot of pick-up artist material. making little digs to instill some self-doubt in the woman somehow makes you more attractive to her. as if confidence is some sort of electrical force, and reducing hers makes yours relatively stronger.

I won't speak of ways to "strip" away confidence since it is "dangerous" and manipulative (could hurt someone). I do sometimes do it because it has to be done occasionally... arrogance and such. (Arrogance is not confidence... like Evo pointed out.)
Oh, I missed this. You're right, you better not let us know the secrets of your Legendary Super Saiyan Anti-confidence Blast, it might fall into the wrong hands.

Do you feel that confidence, both actualized internally, and projected externally in dealings with people, is perhaps among the most important factor for obtaining a quality of life devoid of excessive disconsolation?

I'm talking about genuine confidence that is within merit. Not "false" confidence, or "overconfidence".

After thinking it through, I can never remember a time in my life where I've been confident about much of anything. I tend to be pessimistic and somewhat introverted, and lately I've come to the conclusion that perhaps this attitude is not serving me well in my dealings with people.

I've been thinking that even if a person has not fulfilled the societal mainstreams of what "success" is supposed to be, they might still be "respected", so long as they project an aura of confidence that is not necessarily unwarranted.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
no, i think confidence is way overrated. I know a lot of "confident" lab partners who are among the dumbest people and make worthless contributions. certainly lacking confidence and sounding needy is a bad thing, but once your in the middle you are good as far as confidence is concerned.

i think appearance and social skills are way more important for friends. of course its easier to be social if you don't lack confidence. and if you are a pessimist, no one likes that either. we go through enough crap ourselves to burden ourselves with yours.

I'm tellin' ya, man, don't be seduced by the veil of illusion, the Maya and saṃsāra that are the dissipate game of days. Concentrate on freeing yourself from the worldly burdens that the Buddha's gospel teaches of and happiness will find you.

Or, at least that's what I'd say if I was a Buddhist.

I had a great fear of public speaking, no confidence in myself at all during those situations. I would say it was more like being terrified to be placed in that type of situation. I had a talk with a professor, and he suggested I join Toastmasters. I had no idea what that was, but a few years later I found a Toastmasters chapter in my community. I jumped in and joined them. Their approach was to gradually get you used to speaking in front of the group before you ever made your first introductory speech (about yourself). By about my eight speech, I can honestly say that things had pretty much turned around for me to the point that I even found it something to look forward to. It built up my confidence in being around others and especially in speaking to groups in formal situations. It was a case of prctice, practice, practice.